Even though most of The Affordable Care Act rules don’t take effect until 2014, I feel like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. As I read endless amounts of information, I find myself falling down the rabbit hole of contradiction, guessing games and the certainty of “hurry up and wait”. Each article is another riddle within itself.
Recently, I met with the Cheshire Cat of insurance. He was relaxed about the upcoming healthcare changes and his philosophy was that there was nothing to do right now and the insurance companies will eventually have it all laid out. No worries, he seemed to think. I couldn’t believe how calm he was. As he spoke, I kept thinking “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date” – actually a whole calendar’s worth of them!
In a way, though, he’s right. We are still waiting for final EVERYTHING. Employers were supposed to notify employees of the law and options by March. However, since the options weren’t available at the time, there was nothing to announce. So, when they do come out (estimated fall 2013), we will all need to move fast. So what’s a Rabbit to do?
• Be Calm – The cat is right. It won’t be perfect, but it’s coming. Plan on a busy September.
• Prepare a Snapshot – Different sections of the law will apply depending on the number of employees in your business. Evaluate the number of Full Time Employees and FTE’s (Full Time Equivalents) you employ.
• Budget – What benefits are you currently offering? How much does it cost your company? Estimate out costs for next year to see if you fall within the guidelines, which we’ll be discussing on this site over the next four weeks.
• Schedule – Calendar when different action items need to occur and schedule the time to do them. Pre-set a meeting with your broker to discuss your rates.
• Evaluate your Options – The catchphrase is “play or pay”. After figuring out where you stand, you can decide how to best proceed with your benefit plan.
Yes, it all seems overwhelming, but we’ll be solving the riddle together over the next four weeks. I’ll break down how to evaluate your situation to help you make an informed decision once the exchanges are finalized. Planning in your Kingdom is vitally important, so don’t wait until September to know where you stand.
Please let the Evil HR Queen know if there is something specific you would like to know about the Affordable Care Act. Post your questions in the comments section, my pretties……